Saturday, September 24, 2016

Amazon Prime TV Review: Fleabag (2016)

Fleabag poster
Fleabag (2016) - Directed by Harry Bradbeer, Tim Kirkby; Written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge; Starring Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford, Olivia Colman, Brett Gelman, Jenny Rainsford, Bill Paterson, Ben Aldridge.

By Kenny Howell

Amazon brings another great voice from across the pond in this new series starring and written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Fleabag was originally a one-woman play by Waller-Bridge, but she adapted it for the small screen for BBC Three in England. Amazon brought it stateside (much like they did with Catastrophe), and it is a good thing that they did. It is one of the better comedies of the year.

Waller-Bridge wrote all the episodes and plays the title character, a woman who is just a giant mess. She sleeps with anyone that shows her affection, and generally screws up most of her life situations, especially with her family. That family includes her godmother/stepmother played by Olivia Colman, who is astoundingly funny as a super judgmental woman who holds everything just below the surface with passive-aggressive insults. Fleabag is also running a failing cafe that houses some guinea pigs in the dining area To no one's surprise, that is also on its last legs.

Top 5 stories of the week

Check out the top five stories of the week.

1. Movie Review: I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)

2. Now on Netflix: Wild Canaries (2015)

3. HBO TV Review; The Night Of (2016)

4. Now on Netflix: Faults (2015)

5. Top 10 Cult Movies currently streaming on Netflix

Friday, September 23, 2016

Comic Book Roundup: Detective Comics #940, Moon Knight #6, Lady Killer #2

Detective Comics 940 cover
By Kenny Howell

Detective Comics #940 - Written by James Tynion IV; Art by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira; Published by DC Comics

It's fitting that the best DC Rebirth comic would set the stage for the next direction of the whole DC Universe. I won't give it away, but the action in this one leads to something that will change everything.

If you aren't caught up, the Bat-Family has been battling the colony for several issues, and the action really ramped up with Detective Comics #939. It continues here, and it brings it to an exciting conclusion, but also sets the stage for where we go next. Great end to a tremendous first arc in the rebirth.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Moon Knight #6 - Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Greg Smallwood; Published by Marvel Comics

For the first couple of issues of Moon Knight, I was just sucked in by the tremendous art by Greg Smallwood. But the story keeps twisting and turning (I don't know where I am now), and it makes Moon Knight probably the best Marvel title right now outside of Vision.

In this one, Stephen Grant is trying to create the next Marvel blockbuster, but his "past" may be starting to come to light. Or is it? Jeff Lemire is really weaving a clever little tale where we don't know what is true or what comes next.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Lady Killer #2 - Written and Art by Joelle Jones; Published by Dark Horse Comics

After a stellar first issue, Josie sees a person from her past offer to team up and take some of the heat off the contract killer. Then yet another group seeks her skills.

After setting up the second series with issue #1, Joelle Jones sets up where this second series is going to go in issue #2. It's kind of a tweener issue, but a solid one at that.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The 20 Best Documentaries currently streaming on Netflix

The Act of Killing movie poster
By Kenny Howell

If there is one thing that Netflix has no shortness of, it is documentaries. That is probably the biggest category they have because there is an endless supply of documentaries these days, many which Netflix makes themselves. Below, I will give you more than enough to watch.

The Act of Killing (2012) - Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer - Oppenheimer's horrifying look into Indonesian death squad leaders who are still free after all these years. He has them reenact their crimes, sometimes with the people on the other side sitting right there.

The Look of Silence (2015) - Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer - The sequel to The Act of Killing, this time Oppenheimer has a brother of man who was killed during the genocide confront some of those death squad members.

Ballet 422 (2014) - Directed by Jody Lee Lipes - Interesting look at the artistic process, as director Lipes follows the 422nd ballet by the New York City Ballet from first rehearsal to world premiere.

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010) - Bansky - Banksy's terrific documentary about a French shopkeeper who originally set out to make a film about him and other street artists, but Banksy turned the cameras onto him when he realized his film would never make the light of day. Is it for real, or another one of Banksy's tricks?

Book Review: 'The Caped Crusade' by Glen Weldon

The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of the Nerd Culture - Written by Glen Weldon; Published by Simon & Schuster

By Kenny Howell

Just a few weeks ago, I asked my wife, why do I like Batman so much?

Her response was something to the tune of how would I know, what a weird question, and I never could really put my finger on it myself.

He is obviously a normal guy, in the sense that a billionaire that plays dress up to fight crime is normal. But he doesn't have any superpowers other than his mind and physical combat ability.

But I don't know if that is it either. The only thing I could come up with was, well, Batman is cool.

There is a bit of nostalgia in it because I was nine when Tim Burton's Batman came out, and I was sucked into his whole world. Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, Ridddler, and can't get enough of any of those guys. But does nostalgia really last almost 30 years? I don't think so, so there has to be something else.

Movie Review: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

Neighbors 2 Sorority Rising movie poster
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) - Directed by Nicholas Stoller; Written by Andrew J. Cohen, Stoller, Brendan O'Brien, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg; Starring Rogen, Rose Byrne, Chloe Grace Moretz, Zac Efron, Ike Barinholtz, Dave Franco, Jerrod Carmichael, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Selena Gomez, Lisa Kudrow, Kyle Mooney, Hannibal Burress, Kelsey Grammar, Abbi Jacobson, Billy Eichner, Sam Richardson.

By Kenny Howell

To Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's credit, they could just cash checks.

Everyone does it from time to time and who could blame them if they did This is the End 2, and just ended up smoking weed with the Backstreet Boys. They've built up enough good will at this point to do something like that.

But they don't. Their movies have a reason for being, no matter how silly it may be. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising could seem like a crash grab, but it is not. The first film was a big hit, and they could have just made the same movie again with not much of an angle, but there is something there.  It is about sexism at its core, with lots of physical humor and penis jokes along with it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Movie Review: Hell or High Water (2016)

Hell or High Water (2016) - Directed by David Mackenzie; Written by Taylor Sheridan; Starring Chris Pine, Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster, Marin Ireland, Gil Birmingham.

By Kenny Howell

Sometimes faults are forgiven or forgotten when a movie hits so many things right.

That is definitely true of Hell or High Water, the new western/noir that sees two brothers robbing banks to save the family ranch. Despite its occasional tonal shifts that swing drastically from hard-boiled noir to comedy, Hell or High Water does those things so well that you don't notice something that could have been distracting.

Chris Pine (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Ben Foster (Kill Your Darlings) play those brothers who are desperate for cash. They are robbing small, rural banks for what we learn is an attempt to save the family land. The family has dealt with poverty all their lives, so losing the land would just continue that cycle for years to come. Pine is the more grounded, intelligent brother Toby, and the mastermind of the operation which I will leave for the viewing because it is quite clever. He calls on his brother Tanner to help him, which Tanner has no problem doing. He has been in and out of jail for various reasons over the years, including bank robbery, and would do anything for his brother.